Time in Motion

Completion: 2015

Location: Houston Hobby Airport International Terminal, Houston, TX

Description: A sweeping wall light sculpture evokes an abstracted motion blur pattern, continually changing color in a moving gradient. At a distance, the piece is a work of public art, drawing in the viewer with a bold, dynamic visual gesture that is integrated with the vestibule site. On a more intimate scale, the work reveals an interpretive timeline exhibit that tells the story of Hobby airport.

The effect of a “timeline in motion” is made possible by Lumisty, a special glass that is transparent when viewed at certain angles and foggy at others. The foggy distortion creates a motion blur effect with the interpretive exhibit behind the glass. Featuring text, images, small artifacts, and LED lighting, the graphic design of the timeline exhibit is composed to reinforce the banded motion blur pattern. The glass only becomes transparent directly in front of the viewer, prompting viewers to walk the length of the wall to see the entire exhibit. This creates a sense of dramatic self-discovery: as viewers walk along the timeline, they are progressively rewarded as it reveals itself before them.

The movement of visitors allows the work to be in perpetual flux, in a shifting continuum between abstraction and figuration. From the upper level, the work is a sweeping, sculptural wall of color and pattern. As viewers descend the escalators, their angle of view changes to the wall sculpture, and sections of the timeline exhibit are dramatically revealed. The Lumisty glass evokes curiosity, drawing viewers into the lower vestibule to discover what is behind the glass.

There is a conceptual unity between this visual gesture and the narrative of the timeline. Air travel is a rich metaphor for how we move together in a modern world, physically, culturally, and socially. The history of Hobby airport is a history of people in motion—both individually and collectively. Throughout its 75 year history, Hobby Airport has played a critical role in the development of Texas and the nation, fostering both individual mobility and the common good.  The history of Hobby speaks to the wisdom of its namesake: that our lives our interdependent, that we must all move together and we must all keep together.

Architect: METALAB

Lighting Designer: G2LD